Distinguished Lecture: Crowds and the Cloud: Contemporary Networked User Experiences

September 11, 2009
Nelson Auditorium, Anderson Hall
Speaker: Karen Donoghue, Principal User Experience Designer at Microsoft Startup Labs in Cambridge, MA


The aftermath of the September 11 attacks illustrated the value of efficient network experiences – relying on Internet-style architectures - that enabled people to use text messaging and email to communicate directly with each other as substitutes for phone calls when telephone networks were congested or unavailable. To stay informed, people relied on centrally-broadcast information - television news and news web sites –viewed heavily during this time. But if such an attack were to happen today, how would the end user experience of the network - and content access– differ given emerging content distribution platforms and “location-aware” network devices? Would the end user experience be perceived as more effective and efficient – keeping people abreast of ongoing conditions, and updated with locations of loved ones? Is it possible to establish metrics for these attributes of a networked experience? In this talk, Karen Donoghue will compare and contrast the networked experiences and content consumption patterns among individuals and groups during the Sept 11, 2001 attacks with the Web 2.0 networked experiences available today across a multitude of smart and location-aware devices, networks and software platforms.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Karen is a Tufts Computer Science alum (J’87, Computer Science)and an expert in the design of user experiences for networked devices. She has most recently been responsible for designing software platforms and end user experiences for cell phones and wireless picture frames for companies such as Motorola and Kodak. Karen is also a startup veteran, having launched or played a key role in releasing networked software products for several venture backed startups. She is currently a Principal User Experience Designer at Microsoft Startup Labs, working on transformative experiences in social productivity and interaction in a lab that serves as an innovation channel for Microsoft.

Reception Immediately Following Lecture in Burden Lounge